I got this disc right after its release, but hesitated to review it owing to many reasons beyond the singer's credentials.
I must say that I have not heard a bass cantante so good since Cesare Siepi.
And I have been very critical of this recording, comparing the pieces track by track with Siepi's own album. The reason being that Mr. Tian's album is my first commentary of recordings by Chinese operatic singers (these recordings are SO few), and I want to do real justice to his recording.
The tracks are really very well chosen. Not merely impressive in the range of repertoire, but each representative of a branch of the different operatic styles. Each single piece is impeccably sung, interpreted, articulated. The voice is deep, with a full dark hue, but the singing never boring. I particularly love the "Il Barbiere di Seville" aria of Basilo. I think Mr. Tian should perform this role on stage more. His bel canto is likewise very convincing in the " La Sonnambula" track. I've heard other Italian basses singing this aria, but few could match Mr. Tian in this recording.
The famous aria of Philip II in 'Don Carlo' is movingly sung in rich tone. If other basses performing this role some times fall short of the 'crown', Hao-jiang Tian's performance rightfully deserves it.
I think Mr. Tian must have waited almost his whole life to make this recording. And I would say that it represents his artistic achievement well.
I must thank NAXOS, the Hong Kong home brand, for making this disc available to listeners.